CORNER BROOK — An expanded season for the Stage West Theatre Festival was a good move, according to according to one of its co-founders and co-artistic directors.
Last year, the theatre company offered up three productions and ran for 13 nights, said Stephen Perchard. This season, it has been five productions at both the Arts and Culture Centre and Royal Canadian Legion, and it will run for 28 nights when it concludes next week.
"Part of what we want to do with the festival is grow it as much as possible, not growing too fast obviously," he said.
"We do want this to be something that is a major part of the Corner Brook arts scene in the coming years."
Thursday, Perchard was enjoying his only day off in July, and had an opportunity to reflect a bit on the season thus far.
"I think it was a good move," he said.
There was a concern about the expanded season stretching the local theatre audience thin, but he said that has not been the case. Despite competing with the great weather, crowds have been steadily good — with a mixture of locals and tourists.
"Part of what we want to do is make sure there is something happening here in Corner Brook over the summer months," he said.
"Over the last couple of years, groups like ourselves and Gros Morne Summer Music I think there has been big changes in that regard."
"The 39 Steps" — 'an award winning farce' — has concluded and the drama "Salt Water Moon" has also finished.
Legion to host remaining shows
"This is Dan — An Evening of Daniel MacIvor Comedies" resumes tonight and ends Tuesday, while the "Drawer Boy" picks up again Saturday and concludes its run Monday. "A Fine Tyme — A Musical Celebration of Newfoundland and Labrador" is next performed Sunday and closes the festival Wednesday. All remaining performances are at the Royal Canadian Legion.
Perchard raved about the quality of this year's shows, and the cast and crew who are putting them off.
"We have some of the most talented theatre professionals in Corner Brook who have come together to help us out," he said. "It is unbelievable how many people said they would love to work with us.
"We are really happy with our company, and extremely grateful for who we have."
Perchard said close out shows are generally the most well attended for a theatre festival, so he is really looking forward to the final week.
He also said there has already been a fair bit of consideration toward next season, but just on a preliminary basis.
Since this year's format has been deemed such a success, he believes something similar will happen in terms of number of shows and duration.
"We are certainly looking at next year already, and feel very confident we will have a great season lined up for next year as well," he said.